Public safety has been a cornerstone for Roger Goodman for the better part of a decade, but political career of the Kirkland Democrat didn’t start out that way.
Goodman is running as the House of Representatives incumbent for the 45th District, Position 1, which he has held since first winning election in 2007. His opponent is Sammamish Deputy Mayor Ramiro Valderrama-Aramayo.
“I wanted to be an environmental champion when I arrived 10 years ago, but there were a lot of environmental champions there already,” Goodman said.
Instead, Goodman found he was one of few legislators at the time who was an expert on criminal justice. Goodman has served the vice-chair of the House Judiciary Committee and a senior member of the House Public Safety Committee.
Drunk driving and domestic violence have been major issues, with a 36 percent decline in alcohol-related deaths and serious injury accidents in the two years following passage of a Washington State Patrol enforcement expansion in 2012.
The battle against domestic violence has been a success, as well, Goodman said, with intimate-partner homicides cut in half in the last several years.
Goodman’s “signature issue” is to reduce harm, he said, by making communities more safe.
He took part in the Cascadia Rising disaster-preparedness drills in June, and walked away with some dark revelations. Goodman pushed the need for a better communication system between essential services in the area, which would help groups like first responders, hospitals and schools communicate in real time.
Looking forward, Goodman said his top priority if re-elected is to finish funding public schools following the McCleary decision in 2012, in which the Supreme Court of Washington forced the legislature to properly fund public education.
“We have not come close to meeting the responsibility,” he said. “We have at least $3.5 billion left to fund public schools, and that’s in addition to the current budget.”
Goodman said the need could climb, depending on how much the state wished to reduce class sizes and provide additional funding for teacher salaries.
Affordable housing in the 45th district, which represents most of Kirkland, Redmond, Woodinville, Sammamish and Duvall, is another issue for Goodman. The abundance of high-paying jobs on the Eastside makes affordable housing difficult to find, Goodman said.
Mental health, the final of Goodman’s big three, requires additional funding or infrastructure to adequately serve the area, he said. The industry needs more trained professionals to help curb the growing mental health and homelessness issues in King County.
Goodman said he was disappointed in the last budget session, which ended without action on homelessness.
“We can’t wait on the crisis of homelessness and mental illness,” he said. “We needed to put our money where our mouth is and not wait until the next budget cycle, but we didn’t and now we’ll have to spend more because (the crisis) will have gotten worse.”